I took GMAT a few days ago and scored 750 on the first try (49 quant, 44 verbal). Since I have found plenty of useful advice on forums, I wanted to share my "story" of how I prepared and hopefuly somebody will find it helpful.
I started seriously thinking about doing GMAT about 6 weeks ago before taking the test. I didn't have any strict deadline, but wanted to have it done by the end of July.
First I took the LBS simulator test.
I could identify two major problems:
1. My knowledge of math was good for the quant section, but I was very slow and was making too many mistakes.
2. I was struggling with the verbal section in general
I made some use of The Economist
GMAT preparation tool, but only for a week (free trial period). It taught me a couple of useful concepts, mainly the importance of making estimates and not trying to calculate everything precisely in geometry questions. It didn't seem to be as useful for the verbal section. Hence, it seemed way too expensive to use it beyond the free trial perior.
I believed practising a lot for the quant part was more useful to me than studying, so I purchased a set of practice tests from Veritas prep
. I usually did one or two of them over a weekend, sometimes only the quant part. I didn't have time to study for GMAT during weekdays (I took four days off from work before the test day).
For the verbal section, I purchased Manhattan GMAT
Verbal Strategy Guide Set books. I didn't spend much time reading them (about 15 hours total), but it seemed to me that each book helps a lot even if you just quickly go through it. My practice tests results on Veritas prep
were getting better, as you can see in the attachment (I can't post URLs).
When the results seemed good, I registered for the test. I then took a practice test of the official GMATPrep tool and scored 710. I took another one two days later and scored 690, which I definitely wasn't happy about. I studied the verbal strategy books a bit more and scored 780. That was four days before the official test day. It gave me confidence, I didn't study much more... And scored 750.
My key takeaways:
1. Even if your math skills are good, you probably need to practise, as GMAT is fairly different then math exams at schools and universities (I studied engineering).
2. Veritas prep
tests quant tests are fairly reliable, but the verbal section seemed easier than the real test.
3. There is a lot of variance
in test results, mainly the verbal section. I did three official practice tests and the real one over eight days and my score ranged from from 690 to 780. I scored 49 or 50 in each of the quant sections, but the verbal score ranged from 35 to 47, which is A LOT. Sure my concentration and thus performance were varying, but not as much as the results would suggests. I think there is a fair bit of randomness in the results and if you score 700 one day, you might score 760 the next day.
File comment: My practise tests results (Veritas prep).
Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 11.29.17.png [ 74.85 KiB | Viewed 456 times ]